Caged hen campaign takes flight

The opening of Countdown’s new flagship Ponsonby store on June 2 saw SAFE in the air and on the ground, taking bold action on behalf of New Zealand hens.

The action included a plane towing the message, ‘Countdown – stop selling cage eggs’, while on the ground shoppers were greeted with a six-metre long mobile billboard and posters, alongside concerned customers asking the supermarket giant to go cage-free.

Countdown’s parent company Woolworths in Australia, pledged back in 2013 to drop cage eggs. Last week supermarket chain ALDI in Australia also announced they are going cage-free. Meanwhile in New Zealand, Burger King, McDonald’s and Wendy’s have all pledged to go, or have gone, cage-free.

There are approximately three million layer hens in cages in New Zealand. Whilst battery cages will be illegal in New Zealand from 2022, hens in the new colony cages spend their lives crammed inside a wire cage with barely more space than an A4 piece of paper per bird. They cannot fulfil their natural instinct to scratch for food, dust-bathe or build a nest, and have to stand on a sloping mesh floor.

Countdown sells millions of cage eggs each year. Their Facebook page has had daily complaints from concerned Kiwis asking them to stop selling cruel cage eggs for the past few months.

“There is a worldwide movement against cruelly caging hens and Countdown must move with the times.” says Mandy Carter, SAFE’s Head of Campaigns. “It’s time for Countdown to listen to their customers and join the growing number of businesses recognising that cruelty is bad for business”.


As a customer, your views are important to Countdown. Show them that confining hens in cages is wrong!

  • Take a moment to email Countdown asking them to phase out all cage eggs and end the suffering.

  • Post a message on Countdown’s Facebook page asking them to ‘Name the Date’ they will drop all cage eggs.

  • Photos of the action can be seen on SAFE's Facebook page. 

  • Watch footage of SAFE's Countdown to Cage Free Ponsonby action.

2 June 2016